‘GET AMERICA BACK’: Romney tour bus stops in Destin as part of 'Stronger Middle Class' bus tour

Matt Algarin
This banner on the booking booth at the Fishing Fleet Marina sends a clear message that “we built this business.”

For Faye Calhoun, November's election isn't about foreign policy or the state of the economy — it's much simpler than that, the Destin resident says.

"It's about core values, and that's why I'm voting for Romney," she told The Log. "We have got to get our core values back in the United States. Our core values are gone — 'In God we Trust;' they (Democrats) tried to take that out."

As part of Gov. Mitt Romney's "Stronger Middle Class Bus Tour — Sportsmen for Romney Rally," about 75 Romney enthusiasts and fellow Republicans gathered at the Fishing Fleet Marina to hear Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam speak about the presidential candidate's program supporting fishermen.

"They (fishermen) are drowning under this federal government administration," Putnam said, receiving a thunderous applause from the crowd. "They have thrown science overboard and they are ignoring their own testing — they are putting these guys out of business, and that's just one example of what's at stake in this election."

"But help is on the way," he added.

Sportsmen for Romney is all about uniting hunters and anglers that believe in private property rights, care about the outdoors and understand what it takes to work with their hands and build the country, Putnam said.

"Can you imagine what a second term Obama, department of labor, EPA, all of the Fish and Wildlife, NOAA, Marine Fisheries, that are already out of control… imagine what they will do in a second term when he is not accountable by the election," Putnam said. "His bureaucrats will be uncontrolled, unrestrained, putting businesses like this out of business and that impacts the whole community."

Speaking directly to the boat captains and fishermen, Putnam said it takes the sportsman and like-minded people to help protect the rights they have, while still being able to give their children and grandchildren an outdoor experience, just like they have enjoyed.

He said the key is to unplug kids from their computers and their Xbox's, so they can enjoy the outdoors, which won't be there if "NOAA gets their way," or if snapper and grouper restrictions continue.

"We're just the tip of the spear," Putnam said. "It's under assault by this administration."

"Please help us protect the family businesses who built this country and made it great," he added. "We've got to protect that… that's why we have to work to elect Mitt Romney."

For recently elected County Commissioner, boat captain and lifelong fisherman, Kelly Windes, Romney is the right choice to move America forward.

He told The Log this election is important to Destin because there are about 125 charter boats that "regulators are trying to put out of business," or at least "put a hardship" on all of us.

"These environmentalists are getting too harsh with their regulations," he said. "To me, it's about a way of life and it's about the constitution they are trampling all over. I want to get America back the way the founding fathers intended it."

Fort Walton Beach resident Nate Leeper, who is part of the Okaloosa County Republican Executive Committee, told The Log he fully anticipates this year’s election being close, calling it a “cliffhanger.”

“We’re clearly at a major fork in the road as to which direction we are going to go in as a country,” he said. “I just believe that the Republican Party holds more closely to traditional American values on the Constitution. This is where the country needs to go if it hopes to recover.”

With the November election not too far on the horizon, Calhoun, who has been a registered Democrat and Republican over the years, said she would be taking to the polls to vote Republican.

"I'm voting Romney because I think he will take America back where it needs to be," she said.